YOU ASK:

I am covered with Medicare, will my benefits be reduced under the new plan?

WE ANSWER:

No, Medicare benefits that have been guaranteed will not be reduced under the health insurance reform law. In fact, the reforms will work to provide you with additional benefits such as:

  • Payments to primary care physicians will increase, making it more attractive to doctors to provide care to those on Medicare.
  • Provision of annual wellness visits to your primary care doctor.
  • Reductions in prices for prescription drugs, especially if you fall into what is called as the doughnut hole.

    Medicare prescription drugs are only up to $2,700. One is said to fall into the doughnut hole when he has already used up this limit. He will have to spend for his prescription medicines up until his prescription medication expenses reach $6,154, when Medicare coverage kicks in again and pays for the expenses over $6,154. With the new bill, those who fall into the doughnut hole will receive rebates of $250 in 2010. In 2011, there will be 50% discounts for brand-name medicines. When the bill is fully implemented at 2020, there will be no doughnut hole to speak of, since Medicare will be able to cover three-quarters of one's medication expenses.

  • Preventive services such as cancer exams. Here, out-of-pocket costs are minimized so that these services will be more accessible to Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Improved quality of service.
  • Increased choice of doctors and specialists.

The health insurance reform bill aims to gain savings in order to provide insured patients with greater quality of care and more benefits. It also aims to improve how doctors, specialists and nurses coordinate their treatments so that there are fewer mistakes and duplications, all of which costs money. Also, the one that will be receiving substantial spending cuts would be Medicare Advantage, which provides extra coverage. The health care bill will be dropping these extras.

What you have will be a beefed-up Medicare coverage.

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